ElBaradei: Running for presidency would legitimise electoral fraud
Former UN nuclear energy watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei said his candidacy in the 2011 Egyptian presidential election would ensure vote rigging by the ruling party, the independent daily al-Masry al-Youm reported Thursday, DPA reported.
"In light of current circumstances, if I am nominated in the upcoming presidential elections, they will commit electoral fraud, giving me 35 per cent of the votes," ElBaradei said.
The rest would go to the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), he added.
He made the comments during a meeting with leftist opposition politicians Wednesday evening, in which he was asked to run in the 2011 elections.
ElBaradei predicted that if he were to do so, NDP Deputy Secretary General Gamal Mubarak - the son of President Hosni Mubarak - "would emerge smiling and would even praise me."
"In this way we would have given the regime the only thing is looking for, which is legitimacy," he said.
His comments come in the wake of elections for the Shura council, Egypt's upper house of parliament, which he described as "evidence of the ruling regime's corruption."
ElBaradei had hinted last year that he would consider running for the presidency if the conditions were right. Since his return to Egypt early this year, thousands of opposition activists and politicians have rallied around him, hoping to see him nominated.
His National Coalition for Change, which includes several opposition groups and movements, aims to pressure the government into enacting major political reforms, including electoral changes.
According to the Egyptian constitution, ElBaradei would have to be a member of a licensed political party for at least a year before his nomination or would have to win the support of 250 elected local and national officials to run for president.